About BC Ferries

Safety First - Spirit Class Vessels

Spirit of British Columbia, Spirit of Vancouver Island

At BC Ferries, passenger safety is our highest priority. In every way, we adhere to the safety regulations established by Transport Canada - regulations that either meet or exceed all international standards. From vessel design and operation, to crew training and rescue equipment, you can rest assured that BC Ferries puts safety first.

Download our Accessibility, Evacuation & Safety Brochure for these vessels:

Spirit of British Columbia >>
Spirit of Vancouver Island >>  

Prepared for Emergencies

Officers and crew, from the people on the bridge and in the engine room, to those who work in the catering areas, are Transport Canada certified to deal with emergency situations.

As part of our ongoing commitment to safety, operational guidelines call for regular, frequent boat and fire drills for all crew members on every ship. 

Over one thousand drills are conducted annually to ensure the highest safety standards for BC Ferries' vessels and crews.

In the event of an emergency, please move away from the areas of concern and always follow the instructions of ship's personnel. You are also asked to avoid using elevators or going to the vehicle decks unless otherwise instructed.

Emergency Signals

The following signals are used to alert crew members to an emergency:

  • Fire - a continuous ringing of the alarm bell.
  • Person Overboard - three long soundings of the whistle and general alarm bell. In Person Overboard situations, never crowd outer decks where rescue operations are underway.
  • Boat/Raft Stations - seven (or more) short soundings followed by one long sounding of the ship's whistle and/or alarm bell.

Signals will be followed by an announcement explaining the nature of the emergency. If you hear a signal, don't panic. Our crew will take immediate charge of the situation, and let you know exactly what to do.

Rescue Boats

This vessel carries four rescue boats to assist with life raft maneuvering and personnel recovery.  They are located at the forward end of Deck 6.

Life Jackets

Life jackets are stowed in marked lockers on Deck 6. You'll find them on the outside deck, and at the forward end of Lounge A.

Note: There are two types of life jacket available: one for young children up to 90 pounds (41 kg), and one for adults.

Ship Evacuation

There are six marine evacuation chute stations, three on each side of Deck 6. Each station has two life raft racks, containing enough rafts to evacuate 400 people. The six stations combined have an evacuation capacity of 2,400 people.

Should there ever be a need to evacuate the ship, you will be directed to one of these evacuation stations.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are located throughout interior and exterior passenger areas. The on-board fire detection system monitors 400 heat, smoke and manual alarm devices.

The information contained here applies to the Spirit of British Columbia and Spirit of Vancouver Island only. Locations and complement of safety equipment on other vessels will vary.

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